Penn State Dominated by Northwestern for Third Straight Loss

Story posted January 11, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Bradford Conners

Ice-cold shooting and several Northwestern scoring outbursts doomed Penn State in the first half, as the Nittany Lions (8-7) were trounced by the Wildcats (10-6), 70-54, to fall to 0-3 in Big Ten play.

With Penn State trailing 6-2 in the opening minutes, the Nittany Lions responded with eight unanswered points, including two baskets from junior forward Sasa Borovnjak, to take a four point lead.

The Penn State advantage, however, would turn out to be very short-lived. After falling behind 12-8, Northwestern ripped off 13 straight points and held Penn State scoreless for six minutes to open up a sizable 21-12 advantage with under six minutes to play. Sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski contributed eight points as part of the 13-0 Wildcats’ run.

With Penn State just trying to hang around late in the first half, Northwestern went on another scoring tear to extend its lead even further. This time, it was senior guard Reggie Hearn who keyed the Wildcat run, scoring seven straight points to lead Northwestern’s 10-0 spurt that helped them take a 33-18 advantage into the halftime locker room.

Hearn and senior forward Jared Swopshire led the Wildcats with nine points apiece at the break, and Borovnjak paced the Nittany Lions with six points and four rebounds. Penn State, though, failed to convert on all seven of its three-point attempts, and the backcourt tandem of sophomore DJ Newbill and junior Jermaine Marshall combined for just four points on 2 for 10 shooting.

“We’re not sharing the ball,” a disgruntled Penn State head coach Pat Chambers said after the game. “We have two guys who think they can do it all. They can’t. They need help.”

After Northwestern widened its lead to 21 early in the second half behind trifectas from Sobolewski and freshman forward Kale Abrahamson, the Nittany Lions would manage trim the deficit to 45-31. However, the Wildcats had yet another run in them as they went on an 11-2 push to give them their largest lead of the night at 23 points. Northwestern would never look back and went on to cruise to its first Big Ten win of the year in convincing fashion.

For Northwestern, Sobolewski led his team with 18 points, Swopshire contributed 17, and Hearn added 14. The Wildcats won the turnover battle 11-7 and also blocked seven Penn State shots.

“It’s good to get our first win in conference, and to get it on the road is extra nice,” Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said after the game. “We haven’t had much success in this place,” he added, referring to the Wildcats’ 4-15 all-time record in State College.

Over on the Penn State side, after scoring just four points in the first half, Newbill scored 16 in the second to put up a game-high 20 points. Marshall was the only other Nittany Lion in double figures, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half. As a team, Penn State shot just 32 percent from the floor.

After seeing his team get blown out on its home floor, Pat Chambers was irate with his team’s effort after the game.

“That was embarrassing,” Chambers said with frustration. “I didn’t like the way we played; I didn’t like the way we competed. We were just going through the motions.”

However, Chambers did not place the blame squarely on his players’ shoulders.

“We were not ready to play, and it’s disappointing, and that goes on me,” he said. “I take full responsibility.”

The Nittany Lions will hope to turn things around when they travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue on Sunday afternoon, and the Wildcats will look to improve on their 1-2 conference record on Sunday when they host Iowa.

Bradford Conners is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail